Friday, June 14, 2013

Muhammad Ali's Quote Teaches About Our Own Greatness

Most people need proof before they can make bold declarations like Muhammad Ali did. He had no proof he was the greatest. Yet, he stood for it as a possibility. That declaration shaped the way he
trained, his diet, thought processes, the conversations he had, and the people with whom he associated.

As he first touted the words “I am the greatest”, he may have been viewed as cocky or arrogant. However, over time, he made believers throughout the world.

As for the rest of us, there seems to be an unwritten law in the human paradigm that prohibits us from declaring and embracing today who we are as a ‘future possibility’. We wait for an expert to validate us and tell us we have become ‘X’. In the meantime, we spend countless hours pondering over who we are today. And most of us never find a satisfying answer.

While who we are today has some value, it is the result of what we learned and achieved in the past. If we continue to learn and do what we have always done, we will never be more than who we are. Using the past to determine who we are in the present is a way to get stuck – be in a rut.

Muhammad Ali was a great teacher. He taught us that we could take a stand for our future by declaring who we will be. Except, that future cannot be a pipedream. For example, Ali did not declare he would fly to the moon as an astronaut. There was nothing in his past to support that. His commitment was to train as an athlete.

When you look closer at him, you will see he did not train to be a better version of today. He trained to be the greatest. That kind of training requires thinking and actions that may not have existed for him in the past.

If we learn from Ali, we can say ‘who I am today will never be as valuable as the person I will be in the future.’ With that in mind, you have the possibility of becoming the “future you” today. There is no need to wait until you can prove you are that person. Nor do you have to wait for someone’s seal of approval. Stand for it. Let the declaration shape your thoughts and actions. 

Perhaps it is time to phase out questions about who am I and replace it with who do I want to be known as. What new things will you think and do to support who you will be in the future? 


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